Tales from my neighborhood.

Two men died after bullets intended for the rapper hit them. The killers didn’t miss the third time.

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Back in 1984, in Rogers Park, Chicago, there existed (and still exists today) a Jewish preschool on Touhy Avenue, the street where I currently live.

It happened that a woman was picking her four-year-old daughter from school, and as they were walking through the hall, a janitor tried to tickle the little girl, and the girl told him to leave her alone.

So the mom asks the girl about it later, and the girl alleged that the janitor had previously tickled her private parts.   The allegations were reported to the police, who then interviewed something like 80 kids at the school.  Some of the kids apparently reported that there were satanic rituals going on at the school.  Some kids claimed they had seen the teachers there kill a baby, cook it in a kettle, and then eat it.

Ultimately, there was an investigation, the janitor was charged with molestation and the school closed down for a while.  Eventually, the janitor was acquitted, and two-hundred-something charges against the school and various teachers were dropped, because of either lack of evidence or a bumbled investigation, depending on who you ask.

In case you were wondering because of the superficial similarities, A Nightmare on Elm Street was also released in 1984.

I discovered this today because we published an article about a couple in Texas who just had their 20-year-old convictions tossed in a similar satanic ritual abuse situation.

And that led me to an article one of my co-workers wrote back in 1987 about the Rogers Park case.

Here’s the most authoritative version I’ve been able to find in my brief research.  It appears from this that the judge in the case felt like there was a real possibility that sexual abuse had occurred, but because it had become this satanic cult witch hunt, the investigation had been compromised, and thus there was reasonable doubt, requiring the acquittal.

Interesting story, eh?

It's pretty, but is it art? Photo via DNAInfo.com

It’s pretty, but is it art? Photo via DNAInfo.com

My neighborhood is weird.

A partially decomposed, severed deer head with antlers was found stuck on a bamboo stake — resembling a sort of morbid scarecrow — at Loyola Park Beach Monday.

“I was up there on the sand and I thought, ‘What in the heck is that? Is that a real deer head?’ ” said Steve Browne, who had been out on a morning walk Monday when he made the discovery. “I went out to it, and it sure was.”

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“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

Exclusive: Secret interrogation facility reveals creeping aspects of war on terror in US city as accounts describe shackling and brutality without basic rights

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The friendly Irish pub in my neighborhood hosted a little chili cook-off last night.  Naturally, I assumed it was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, but apparently it was really about some kind of sporting event.
I felt pretty good about my entry, but alas, it seems that my palate is not so finely tuned to the average tastes as I thought.  I used all the tricks in my book for maximum flavor; I used five different chilis to make the base, I maximized glutamates, I slow-cooked the heck out of it for optimal tenderness, I finished it with masa to thicken it up, I made sure it was pretty darn spicy, but not so spicy that it gave you hiccups ….
But for all that, I came in fifth place.  Out of seven.  Philistines.
We celebrated my buddy Eric’s birthday with a fancy pop-up dinner here in Chicago.  Good fun with interesting people.

So, I didn’t know James Foley personally, but he and I had some friends in common. He graduated from the same journalism program as I did, just before I started.

His public execution by Islamic fundamentalists is yet another glaring example of the harms that religion does to the world. The animals who killed this man did so because of their religion and their ignorance. Because fundamentalism closed their minds, and convinced them their hatred was a virtue. They killed this man, not because he had committed some crime or threatened their lives or property, but just to MAKE A POINT.

Don’t try to tell me religion is harmless. It is actively poisonous, and it will continue to kill us like a disease for as long as we agree to let it. Fundamentalism, of every kind, is a toxic psychological plague.

A video purporting to show the beheading of James Foley, an American freelance journalist abducted two years ago in Syria, was posted by ISIS.

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Out at Arlington.  I managed to win a few bucks, too.

 

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